New concept for rocket thruster exploits the mechanism behind solar flares

Science Daily  January 28, 2021 Current plasma thrusters that use electric fields to propel the particles can only produce low specific impulse. The device proposed by researchers at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory would apply magnetic fields to cause particles of plasma to shoot out of a rocket and propel the craft forward. The particles are accelerated using magnetic reconnection which also occurs in tokamaks. They showed that the new plasma thruster concept can generate exhaust with velocities of hundreds of kilometers per second, 10 times faster than those of other thrusters. According to the researchers the new concept provides the […]

The first steps toward a quantum brain

EurekAlert  February 1, 2021 The quest to implement machine learning algorithms in hardware has focused on combining various materials to create device functionality. This approach limits functionality, efficiency, complicates scaling and on-chip learning. Researchers in the Netherlands created an atomic spin system that emulates a Boltzmann machine directly in the orbital dynamics of one well-defined material system. They fabricated the prerequisite tunable multi-well energy landscape by gating patterned atomic ensembles using scanning tunneling microscopy. The anisotropic behaviour of black phosphorus, provided plasticity with multi-valued and interlinking synapses that led to tunable probability distributions. They observed an autonomous reorganization of the […]

Iceland Genetically Sequences Every COVID-19 Case in World-Leading Strategy

Science Alert  January 17, 2021 Researchers at the biopharma group deCODE Genetics’ laboratory in Iceland have analyzed all the around 6,000 COVID-19 cases reported in Iceland making it the world leader in COVID sequencing. They have identified 463 separate variants – which scientists call haplotypes. Authorities have used the sequencing information to decide on precise, targeted measures to curb the spread of the virus. South African variant has not been detected in Iceland, 41 people have been identified as carriers of the British variant. If there are differences between viruses with the various pattern mutations, they are not obvious. While […]

Scientists in Japan Just Found a Detailed Record of Earth’s Last Magnetic Switcharoo

Science Alert  October 31, 2020 Every 200,000 to 300,000 years, Earth’s magnetic poles reverse. The last reversal was unusual because for some reason, the poles have remained oriented the way they are now for about three-quarters of a million years. Researchers in Japan collected new samples and conducted paleo- and rock-magnetic analyses of samples from the Chiba composite section which is considered to contain the most detailed marine sedimentary record of the Matuyama-Brunhes geomagnetic reversal. It provides the most reliable chronostratigraphic framework of the time period around the Brunhes-Matuyama reversal. According to their study it took about 20,000 years, including […]

Sensor with 100,000 times higher sensitivity could bolster thermal imaging

EurekAlert  October 1, 2020 To improve thermal imaging an international team of researchers (USA – Harvard University, industry, MIT, South Korea, Spain, Japan) has developed a microwave bolometer that it is capable of detecting a single microwave photon. The graphene bolometer sensor detects electromagnetic radiation by measuring the temperature rise as the photons are absorbed into the sensor. Graphene is incorporated in the microwave antenna. A key innovation in this advancement is to measure the temperature rise by superconducting Josephson junction while maintaining a high microwave radiation coupling into the graphene through an antenna. The research has found a new […]

AI taught to rapidly assess disaster damage so humans know where help is needed most

Asia Research  October 1, 2020 Using convolutional neural network (CNN) a team of researchers in Japan trained an AI using post-disaster aerial images to accurately determine how battered the buildings are. It works by classifying buildings as collapsed, non-collapsed, or blue tarp-covered based on the seven damage scales (D0-D6) used in the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes. Based on the photos used to train the AI, they found that the blue tarp-covered category predominantly represented D2-D3 levels of devastation. When the system was tested on post-disaster aerial images of the September 2019 typhoon that hit Chiba, results showed that damage levels of […]

Chemists develop a new type of one-molecule thick water-repellent film

Nanowerk  September 9, 2020 An international team of researchers (Russia, Belarus) developed 0.8-1.5 nm thick calixarene-based films that can work as water-repellent coatings. Calixarenes are large bowl-shaped organic molecules that consist of several rings. The outer ring of the bowl is hydrophilic, and the innermost ring is hydrophobic. Their durability can be increased with UV radiation. The films can be used to create protective hydrophobic or anti-corrosion coatings for organic electronics or to develop molecular filters…read more. TECHNICAL ARTICLE

New material can generate hydrogen from salt and polluted water

EurekAlert  July 21, 2020 Researchers in Czech Republic developed a three-layer structure with a lower layer made of a thin film of gold, the second one made of 10-nanometer platinum, and the third a film of metal-organic frameworks of chromium compounds and organic molecules. The total thickness is 1-micrometer. The material was watered and sealed in a container. Infrared light caused the excitation of plasmon resonance on the sample surface. Hot electrons generated on the gold film were transferred to the platinum layer. They initiated the reduction of protons at the interface with the organic layer. Periodic gas samples were […]

Harvesting hydrogen from nanogardens

Nanowerk  July 3, 2020 By manipulating (electro)chemical gradients using a combined hydrothermal and electrodeposition strategy, an international team of researchers (China, the Netherlands) has shown the controlled growth of Co(OH)2 nanostructures, mimicking the process of garden cultivation. The resulting “nano-garden” can selectively contain different patterns, all of which can be fully phosphidated into CoP without losing the structural integrity. Under pH-universal conditions, the CoP “soil + flower-with-stem” structure shows a much more “effective” surface area for gas-evolving reactions with lower activation and concentration overpotentials. This provides superior bifunctional catalytic activity for both reactions, outperforming noble metal counterparts…read more. Open Access […]

Fifty perfect photons for ‘quantum supremacy’

Phys.org  June 23, 2020 About 50 quantum building blocks are needed to solve problems whether they are in the form of photons or qubits. Photons can operate at room temperatures and they are more stable. But they must be perfect to get to the critical number of 50. An international team of researchers (the Netherlands, Germany) found that by playing with the crystal structure of the light source and dividing them into domains, it was possible to produce light with the desired properties. Varying the domains, however, is required for better tailoring of the light properties…read more. TECHNICAL ARTICLE